Selvaraj Balaji shares his journey from growing up in rural South India to the UK, where he is now a successful implant dentist at the helm of a small group of practices and implant training academy.

Selvaraj discusses the challenges of getting started in the UK,  the philosophy behind his  Academy of Soft and Hard Tissue Augmentation (ASHA) Club UK for advanced implant training and finding a healthy work-life balance.



In This Episode

0:02:05: Backstory

00:04:00: Moving to the UK

00:24:00: Surgery to general practice

00:35:22: From VT to implantology

00:41:12: Practice purchase, management and growth

01:01:22: Family life

01:06:14: Teaching and ASHA

01:16:36: Blackbox thinking

01:19:17: Talent, mentorship and training

01:25:24: Ambition and plans

01:27:36: Last days and legacy

01:28:40: Fantasy dinner party


About Selvaraj Balaji

Implant dentist Selvaraj Balaji owns Buckinghamshire-based The Gallery and Meadow Walk dental clinics. He is also the founder of the Academy of Soft and Hard Tissue Augmentation (ASHA) Club UK for advanced implant training.

Speaker1: I pick 1 or 2 the best ones and I train them [00:00:05] personally. I go to their practice and they come to me, so I add them as my faculty member [00:00:10] in Dasha. So it’s just not me. So I want [00:00:15] others to be there. So so far we have three faculty members since I started [00:00:20] the course, so I train them to the level I feel they’re comfortable so [00:00:25] they can go and do things for others teach, teach.

Speaker2: Mentor, [00:00:30] that sort of thing. Yes.

Speaker1: Yes, that’s the way we do in our [00:00:35] shop because I don’t want to be just me, me, me, me. It’s not that we want [00:00:40] to have a group of clinicians who can go around the country and expand their skills [00:00:45] and teach them.

Speaker3: This [00:00:50] is Dental Leaders. The podcast where [00:00:55] you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your [00:01:00] hosts Payman Langroudi and [00:01:05] Prav Solanki.

Speaker2: It gives me great pleasure to introduce [00:01:10] Doctor Balaji to the Dental Leaders podcast. Um, believe [00:01:15] it or not, Doctor Balaji has sort of popped up in my feed several times [00:01:20] as a basically in my mind, an implant educator even. I [00:01:25] think a few months ago we were both running courses in the same venue, [00:01:30] but we didn’t cross paths. Um, we were at, um, I think it was at the Heathrow, [00:01:35] um, skyline. Yeah. The Sheraton Skyline [00:01:40] Hotel. Right. I think I was speaking there on it might have been the old Bob day [00:01:45] with Jaz Gulati, and I think you were running a course at the time, but but we didn’t get to cross [00:01:50] paths. So I think we’ve crossed paths numerous times on social media.

Speaker1: Exactly.

Speaker2: Yeah. [00:01:55] I’ve had numerous people pointing me in your direction. Get him on the podcast. [00:02:00] He’s got a great story. Yeah. Um, so I want to I want to hear what this story is all [00:02:05] about. Doctor Balaji, um, I know you as, um, uh, an educator, [00:02:10] so founder of, um. I believe it’s the Asha Academy. The academy of soft and hard [00:02:15] tissue augmentation, which I’m sure will go into a little bit later. And you’re also a practice owner, [00:02:20] is that right?

Speaker1: That’s right. Bob.

Speaker2: So, Balaji, the way I like to sort [00:02:25] of go into these podcasts is, is to really start with your backstory, [00:02:30] where you grew up, what your childhood was like. Um, so just take [00:02:35] me, take me through your backstory and your earliest sort of childhood memories.

Speaker1: Thank [00:02:40] you. Bob. First of all, I’d like to start with thanking you for my the invitation. It’s a great opportunity [00:02:45] for me to share my story. And, you know, colleagues like, uh, like [00:02:50] my colleague, like you. Uh, yeah. My story started. I was born in a very, [00:02:55] very small village in South India where [00:03:00] this particular the village when my brother and myself, my brother is older than me, three [00:03:05] years older than me. So when my parents had my brother, there was [00:03:10] there were no decent school in that village. So my [00:03:15] parents and few other parents joined together and they started a school [00:03:20] for their own kids, hiring a teacher, local teachers and stuff. So that’s how [00:03:25] I started. And then I went followed him in to the similar same school, primary school. [00:03:30] And it was the only English medium school in the whole, uh, area. So [00:03:35] and that school grew up into a very popular school, and that’s different story. So [00:03:40] my education started like that. Then I went to a secondary school, [00:03:45] which is like around 20 miles away from the village where I was born. So [00:03:50] we had to travel by bicycle. That’s the mode of transport. We had [00:03:55] to reach there every day by sort of thing. So when I [00:04:00] finished my secondary school and, um, my brother was already in medical school in, [00:04:05] in the city in Chennai, uh, like it’s called now. [00:04:10] And I followed him to a dental school not far from him. So [00:04:15] when I finished dentistry and I was wanted to do more and I want to learn [00:04:20] more, and the opportunity came and again followed my brother again. He came to UK [00:04:25] first, then I followed him. And when I came to United Kingdom, [00:04:30] where I was not able to stay to practice into dental practice, [00:04:35] so I had to do hospital job as as house of house [00:04:40] officer, senior house officer in, uh, oral surgery or maxillofacial surgery [00:04:45] department for nearly six years. So that’s how it started.

Speaker2: Okay, Balaji, I [00:04:50] want to take you straight back to the school that you, um, that your family started, right? [00:04:55] Um, and you went to the school. I just want to get an insight into. What was that like? How many kids [00:05:00] in that school, you know, how far was it from home and just generally what your upbringing was [00:05:05] like? Parents just give us a flavour of what it was like to be a child in that, in [00:05:10] that small village, local community and your upbringing.

Speaker1: Yeah. [00:05:15] I mean, just two of us, me and my brother. Uh, so my parents were very supportive. [00:05:20] My dad was a businessman, but he always wanted to be educated. We [00:05:25] were educated to have a good job and, uh, in India. But he was not able to [00:05:30] be educated because of reasons like no schooling and no support. So he always [00:05:35] told us that, look, education is important. So he pushed us [00:05:40] and he started a school, as I said, with few of the parents, and we didn’t have many. [00:05:45] My class was only six students, uh, like we were four guys and two [00:05:50] girls. It’s a very, very small and in the evenings and we go [00:05:55] to each other’s house and study together and, um, and then there was no electricity like we [00:06:00] had electricity. Women, but mostly they are, you know, the evening just just just goes [00:06:05] off and power electricity.

Speaker2: Would just turn off in the evening.

Speaker1: Turn off [00:06:10] in the evening, like 2 or 2 hours or something every day. So I remember my brother and I, we were studying [00:06:15] in a small like a candle and sitting next to each other, and we’ve been just studying. And [00:06:20] then we because of the candle, we attract all the flies and insects [00:06:25] and stuff. But those are the memories you get back, you know? Uh, but my parents are always [00:06:30] been very, very supportive. They never let, let us do work or do any other job [00:06:35] like side jobs and stuff, like, uh, nothing. We just. You study. That’s all we need to do as a [00:06:40] parent. We are here to support you. Uh, and I’m very thankful for that.

Speaker2: It’s really interesting. [00:06:45] Right? Um, you know, even my parents, my, my well, my father [00:06:50] always pushed education, right? So, um, you know, my, my, my dad didn’t go [00:06:55] to university. And, you know, in this in, in the UK here, you know, worked [00:07:00] in factories, drove taxis and the shop and the one thing, the one message, the [00:07:05] overriding message was, um, look, son, the reason I’m working so hard is so [00:07:10] that you don’t have to do what I do, right. And I want a better life for you. And the overarching [00:07:15] the overarching philosophy was, um, education, education, [00:07:20] education. Right? It was it was all about that. And funny you say that, [00:07:25] that what they gave you was the freedom to say, look, you focus on education. We’ll [00:07:30] look after everything else around you. Right? You don’t need to work. Yeah. Um, [00:07:35] and funnily enough, you know, dad always gave me and my brother that that head space [00:07:40] in that room for education. Although we did work in the family business in the family shop. [00:07:45] Um, yeah. The one thing that he wouldn’t let us do is go out and get another job [00:07:50] or anything like that, or actually playing out and having fun with your mates and stuff, which we did quite a bit of. [00:07:55] Right. That wasn’t a priority. There was this strict overriding wasn’t, [00:08:00] you know, it was never said, but it was always sort of implied that the spend your [00:08:05] time studying. Right. And that’s where the direction what was that like from, from from your [00:08:10] folks. Right. In terms of the did you feel it as like a pressure? Did you feel it as [00:08:15] actually do you know what? I’m breaking the cycle here, and me and my brother are going to go out and [00:08:20] do something different and make dad proud or mum proud or whatever. What was going [00:08:25] on in your mind as a young kid back then?

Speaker1: The thing was, I never felt any [00:08:30] pressure, uh, or uh, any anything from anyone from my parents or anything [00:08:35] because they always, uh, explain to my brother and myself that, look, [00:08:40] you know, this is what we do, and we want you to be like, you know, the [00:08:45] next level and doing better in your life. And so that always pushed us in [00:08:50] a positive way. And I wanted to achieve something for myself and my [00:08:55] family. And moreover, I want to do something for the kids who may [00:09:00] be less fortunate than me, who doesn’t have parents, who [00:09:05] have, uh, you know, money or anything to push them. So that’s how I always my [00:09:10] back of my mind that my parents could start a school for their kids. And, [00:09:15] uh, I would like to do something, if not to the school, at least education [00:09:20] pass my skills to somebody else. So that’s how it started. Yeah. [00:09:25]

Speaker2: And so you do you do primary school, you go to a secondary school in a different town. [00:09:30] Or how like, how far away was that from, from where you grew up.

Speaker1: On [00:09:35] 15km from where I, uh, where my home [00:09:40] to their school. And the two. Only two ways you can go there is by a bus or [00:09:45] a or your own mode of transport. The one mode of transport is what we had was a bicycle. Because [00:09:50] there’s a bus. Sometimes it’s not reliable. Those days it comes in one day, doesn’t come next day. [00:09:55] So we just we just ride the bike as a friend and like a group of guys and [00:10:00] riding bike. It was fun.

Speaker2: Uh, yeah. I bet that was part and parcel [00:10:05] of the enjoyment, right? I remember as a kid growing up and playing around on BMX and stuff like [00:10:10] that and hanging out with my mates. Um, and so I guess there was much, as much [00:10:15] fun to be had on the way to and the way back from school as um, that’s school, right? [00:10:20] Um, and so you, you go to school and funnily enough, [00:10:25] I, um, I interviewed Devang Patel, who runs the Full Mouth Reconstruction Academy. [00:10:30] Right. And, you know, he told me some stories about, like, when he, um, got into [00:10:35] school there and then got into university there that he [00:10:40] was fortunate to have come from, um, parents who had some money. Right? Yeah. What [00:10:45] was the. Just just talk me through your process. Right. So you do the school thing, you sit some exams. [00:10:50] How do you get into dental school? In, in in India. And where did you where [00:10:55] did you go to dental school.

Speaker1: Right. The the process in India is similar to, uh, UK [00:11:00] educational system. You finished your secondary school, then you apply you. [00:11:05] It depends on the amount, the score, the mark you score in this secondary school. [00:11:10] Uh, similar to a level or GCSE here. Um, then you will be [00:11:15] doing another exam which is the we call entrance exam. So you go to school [00:11:20] again to the top mark in that. So then you they’ll be divided [00:11:25] into like the top creme of students. They go to medical [00:11:30] school. Yeah. Then the second thing comes to the dental uh school. [00:11:35] And then the third goes to veterinary or agricultural or engineering and stuff. So [00:11:40] I was offered a place in the medical school. And then I did go into medical school, [00:11:45] uh, for.

Speaker2: Where you went to medical school.

Speaker1: Yes, but I didn’t last for more than two, six [00:11:50] months. I didn’t like it. I didn’t enjoy.

Speaker2: So your brother, your brother went to medical [00:11:55] school, right? He older than you, I assume? Yes.

Speaker1: He’s three years older than me.

Speaker2: So your [00:12:00] brother was three years into the medical school system when you joined the medical school? That’s right. [00:12:05] You did it for six months?

Speaker1: Yes. I didn’t enjoy it. For [00:12:10] whatever reason, I. I didn’t like it. So then there’s a school, not the [00:12:15] building next to it. Like a few hundred yards. Next to it was a dental school building. Then I [00:12:20] went there to look at it, and then I had a friend who is three years older [00:12:25] than me, my in fact, my brother’s friend, he was doing dentistry and I started following [00:12:30] him, and I, I just loved it, the practical side of it and then the all [00:12:35] the stuff which really interested. So I opted out of the medical school. I went to the dental [00:12:40] school after that.

Speaker2: And was that as simple as just sort of saying, hey, [00:12:45] I’m not enjoying this anymore. Can I transfer to your course? What did you have to start from the beginning again [00:12:50] is something obviously at the beginning, like a lot of the curriculum is the same, right? Physiology, [00:12:55] pharmacology, anatomy, embryology, all that sort of stuff. Right?

Speaker1: The [00:13:00] year one is the same for both medical school and dental school, and even even year two almost [00:13:05] similar like you do medicine and all these things, a little bit of it. But from year three [00:13:10] it changes. Yes. So could you.

Speaker2: Easily transfer across?

Speaker1: No, [00:13:15] no, it’s not at all because it’s very, very hard. But I was lucky enough that that we had a [00:13:20] space that came available in dental school. The guy or a girl who was pulled out [00:13:25] to go into different things. So and then I had opportunity to that.

Speaker2: And so [00:13:30] you jumped into that spot basically, and then. Yes. And so, so did you start six [00:13:35] months into the dental school course, so to speak, you almost like swapped over or yes [00:13:40] or no?

Speaker1: I started again from the beginning. From the beginning, yes. The [00:13:45] year after.

Speaker2: The year after. Okay. So you took a year out and year after. And then what? [00:13:50] How did you explain this to your parents? Were they cool with this? I mean, I [00:13:55] guess you weren’t you weren’t dropping out to do something completely different, right? So. Yeah, but [00:14:00] but but how how did they take this? What did you say to them?

Speaker1: I mean, I just said, tell [00:14:05] them, look, this is what I want to do, and I like to do, but my dad, my dad was quite little bit, you know, [00:14:10] I can I could see that he was disappointed because he wanted both the son to want to be [00:14:15] a doctor and all those things. But, uh, but he didn’t say to me and he was very, very [00:14:20] supportive and said, look, okay, as long as you want to do what you want to do, then [00:14:25] yeah, that’s what happened. And they were very, very helpful.

Speaker2: Perfect. And then [00:14:30] so what was dental school like? Um, where you were, what was the name of the dental [00:14:35] school, by the way?

Speaker1: It’s called Madras Dental School, basically [00:14:40] the name of the city, Madras Dental School. And it was it [00:14:45] was I mean, I had a fun because I, because when I went [00:14:50] in until secondary school, uh, we had to work so hard, you know, no [00:14:55] day off is seven days a week. 24 by seven. You studied study, study. And [00:15:00] under the candlelight. Under the candlelight was from my mom and dad looking over you. But [00:15:05] when I left home, this is miles and miles away. So it’s the first two years, [00:15:10] as we all do, the best time of my life. University. And, uh, it’s kind [00:15:15] of fun. We had, uh, everything. Then my second, third year came and the reality [00:15:20] struck. Look, I got to do some very cool down that come down just to get [00:15:25] out of the school. Otherwise I’ll be here for another six, seven years. So. But it was fun. [00:15:30] Very good fun.

Speaker2: And so what was that like? So you went from obviously being [00:15:35] under the watchful eye of your parents to being free, so to speak. Yeah. What was what was [00:15:40] the fun stuff? What, what how would you describe those early days at university? [00:15:45]

Speaker1: The for me, uh, the most important thing is I love meeting [00:15:50] people and I can talk to strangers. My mom was [00:15:55] like that. My mom could speak to anyone on the street or anywhere she goes. And [00:16:00] I can do that, so I’m. I can make friends easily. I can, [00:16:05] you know, that’s what I enjoyed about it. Because in village and the village I come from is very [00:16:10] small. And then people I’ve known them from my all the time. But [00:16:15] when I went to this school, there are people all over from all over from India. India is a massive country, you know that. [00:16:20] Yeah. So different language, different culture, different, uh, everything. So [00:16:25] when you meet people like that, I love that. And second, my passion about travelling. [00:16:30] So I travelled with my friends. I had opportunity to go and see almost [00:16:35] everybody’s house, everybody’s village out of town, city, that part of the [00:16:40] Dental school or my university time I enjoyed. Wonderful. Even though. [00:16:45] Yeah. So I’m so sorry. But yeah, even though you didn’t party [00:16:50] that much those days, but, you know, that sort of thing. But we had a good [00:16:55] friendship. Yeah.

Speaker2: And so, um, what sort of student were you? Were you were [00:17:00] you sort of top of the class? We obviously you’re teaching now, right. Were you were you were the [00:17:05] equivalent of a grade A student or were you somewhere middle of the road or did you were you one of these guys [00:17:10] who right at the end, you just crammed, pulled out all the stops and did what you had to do to pass your exams? [00:17:15]

Speaker1: I maybe realised I’m always work, uh, on the last minute, [00:17:20] the I, I do well under pressure. That’s me. [00:17:25]

Speaker2: You know, funnily enough, I um so this last minute thing. Right. So if I’m and a [00:17:30] few of my friends who know me well, right, will will say if I’m giving a lecture tomorrow. [00:17:35] Yeah. Usually what I’ll do, I’ll be doing my slide prep if I’m doing it in the afternoon, [00:17:40] or I’ll be doing my slide prep in the morning, maybe right up until like an hour before. Right? [00:17:45] And I say, why the hell do you put this pressure on yourself? Like, why don’t you do [00:17:50] weeks? Because because I’ve got the time and I could do right. And I’ve got, I’ve got two, uh, two [00:17:55] answers to that question. One of them is my best ideas come when I’m under pressure. Yeah. [00:18:00] My best ideas come when I’m under pressure, right? Also, [00:18:05] always tell my friends this. If you leave it till the last minute, it only takes a minute. [00:18:10]

Speaker1: Yes, yes. No, I agree totally, because I always do [00:18:15] the last minute. Because I get more ideas and more, uh, my brain works better. [00:18:20] It’s like. Exactly. If you give me a week before I can, I tried, don’t get me wrong, I because [00:18:25] I try to do week before, but my mind will be thinking so many other things. [00:18:30] I can’t concentrate on that particular work.

Speaker2: That point you’ll have other last minute things [00:18:35] to do, right that the week before, right? Something else that’s high priority maybe in [00:18:40] the practice or whatever. Right. So definitely yeah, it’s shifting priorities. [00:18:45] Um, and then so as you go through dental school, um, you get you get your [00:18:50] dental degree, had your brother already come to the UK? Yes. [00:18:55] Before you.

Speaker1: He. That’s right. Yes. And he came to UK, [00:19:00] uh, three, two, two years before me. Yeah.

Speaker2: And was it always your plan as [00:19:05] well to, to to move to the UK, or were you thinking of staying in India. What [00:19:10] was your plan back then?

Speaker1: Like my plan I think to be honest, I’m a more of [00:19:15] a grafter. And, uh, I don’t I do plan a little bit, but I [00:19:20] don’t have many plans, like, I want to achieve this sort of guy. So when my [00:19:25] brother came to UK, my plan was to stay in, uh, India, to look [00:19:30] after my parents and stay there and do things. Then, uh, my, [00:19:35] my brother said, look, why don’t you come to UK, just have a look, see, feel how you feel [00:19:40] and what you want to do. Then I said, my parents said, okay, go. Go with him and if you [00:19:45] don’t like it, you can come back. And they knew. My parents knew that if I don’t like something, I won’t [00:19:50] do it. So and came here and then I straightaway got [00:19:55] into a hospital. Uh, observer job. Justin. Yeah.

Speaker2: So [00:20:00] so quick question around that. So when when your brother and your parents said, hey, go to the UK and [00:20:05] check it out. Was that you coming on holiday or was that you coming to apply for a job and [00:20:10] try a job here in the UK? What was the guys that you were that you were coming to [00:20:15] the UK and where in the UK did you land by the way?

Speaker1: Yeah, it was a uh what? [00:20:20] It’s a holiday visa. It’s a tourist visa. Okay. Yeah, yeah. I came as a tourist visa as [00:20:25] a holiday for six months and then landed in Heathrow in November, actually, uh, in [00:20:30] 1997. So my brother came and picked me up. And first time in the fall, [00:20:35] that’s what my first trip in my flight, I never flew before.

Speaker2: That was your first [00:20:40] flight ever.

Speaker1: First flight ever. So. And I, uh, it was amazing. Uh, [00:20:45] the memories and so I. Yeah. And my brother picked me up [00:20:50] from the airport, and I, he peop I mean, guys who comes [00:20:55] from India those days even baby now they, we all ended up in East Ham in London, [00:21:00] the East London where we all go there. And then that’s where we, [00:21:05] you know, we start our, uh, life, um, like, uh. Yeah. So [00:21:10] then my brother used to work there at that point in, uh, Cornwall, in [00:21:15] Truro. So next day we travelled to Truro and I stayed [00:21:20] with him, and, uh, I had a. Yeah, that’s that’s how I started.

Speaker2: So [00:21:25] cast your mind back to the point where your flight landed here [00:21:30] in Heathrow. Right? And then you step off that plane. What was that like for you? Was [00:21:35] it was there a big culture shock? Were you. Obviously you were taking everything in first time [00:21:40] in another country, right? Uh, what what what was what was that like? And [00:21:45] difference in culture or whatever they call it, the culture shock or whatever. What [00:21:50] did that feel like coming from where you’d where you’d come and used to that environment coming here [00:21:55] to UK. What are the biggest differences to you?

Speaker1: I was excited to be in UK, [00:22:00] but the one thing I was like, no, I was a bit, uh, surprised was because I watched [00:22:05] movies of English movies, like American movies and English movies. But always I thought, [00:22:10] there’ll be skyscrapers in London. So when I landed down and I was looking around, [00:22:15] I asked my brother, God, there’s no big buildings in London. He said, no, it’s not like America. [00:22:20] It’s not like New York that I remember very well. And then, uh, then [00:22:25] the culture shock wise. Yeah, I missed food. I still even [00:22:30] now I do. And, uh, I missed my parents because and, um, I haven’t left [00:22:35] India for until I was left and came to UK, so [00:22:40] that was a shock. But because, um, my brother was here, I felt [00:22:45] a bit more homely. And he was very supportive. Uh, so. Yeah, that’s how. And [00:22:50] were you.

Speaker2: Living with your brother at the time? In the early days, yes.

Speaker1: Yes. I was living with [00:22:55] him for nearly eight, six months and the same. And [00:23:00] so you.

Speaker2: Land here, you’re on a holiday visa. And then. And then [00:23:05] how do you go about getting your first job? And at what point did you think, hey, I’m going to be a dentist [00:23:10] in the UK now, how did that come about?

Speaker1: So what happened was by when I [00:23:15] was staying with my brother and I started writing to a few, um, [00:23:20] hospitals. There was, uh, to go and observe for like a, uh, observership [00:23:25] or assistantship. So you don’t get paid, but you just go and watch. So work experience sort [00:23:30] of thing. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So, uh, I had a reply from, uh, lovely, [00:23:35] uh, consultant, uh, filled guest, uh, from Bristol Royal Infirmary. [00:23:40] He was a consultant. He was such a lovely man. He was the only one called me [00:23:45] and said, look, come here and watch what we’re doing. So I [00:23:50] went there and I stayed in Bristol, uh, in the hospital for two weeks. And I [00:23:55] went to the theatre every day with him. He was doing like, um, uh, all the [00:24:00] cancer works and neck dissection, that sort of work. And that made [00:24:05] me feel, wow, I want to be one of that. Inspired you to be a surgeon? I want [00:24:10] to do it. And then that’s that’s how. And then I asked him, look, I want to stay here for longer. [00:24:15] Do you have any job coming up? And, uh, because I was [00:24:20] not educated in this country, he said, look, there may not be a job coming up in Royal Infirmary [00:24:25] because the dental school attached to it, but I will help you to find a job. So [00:24:30] then I stayed there for another six months as a work experience, [00:24:35] unpaid job during every fall and training day, in [00:24:40] and out of doing as normal job or house officer does every day. [00:24:45]

Speaker2: So just. I just want to I’m just trying to wrap my head around, like, back [00:24:50] in 1997. Yeah, I think I got my first email address [00:24:55] in 1997. Right. I started university then. Right. So it’s so [00:25:00] I remember it really well. So back then when you wrote to Phil Guest, was it a handwritten [00:25:05] letter? Was it an email? How did you communicate with him?

Speaker1: Yeah, no, it was uh, [00:25:10] like a computer. And you know, those floppy disks, you know, you have. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, [00:25:15] yeah. Do you remember that? Yes. So I had my CV and, uh, letter, uh, um, uh, handwritten [00:25:20] letter, but CV was typed in from the computer, so it’s a post [00:25:25] it to him. Uh, you posted a letter to him. Post a letter to him? Yes.

Speaker2: Yeah, yeah. [00:25:30]

Speaker1: And so then how did you.

Speaker2: Hear back from him? He. He rang you or he wrote back to you.

Speaker1: He [00:25:35] wrote back to me because I didn’t have a phone or no mobile phone those days, as you know. And so [00:25:40] I didn’t have a phone because I was staying with my brother in a hospital accommodation. So he wrote back to me. [00:25:45]

Speaker2: And how amazing, right? The, you know, you you post a [00:25:50] letter out and then this guy posts a letter back to you. And that’s the beginning [00:25:55] of your your career, right? That’s right. Your letter not landed or got lost [00:26:00] in the post or whatever. Right. You wouldn’t have thought about it again. Right? It’s really interesting that. [00:26:05]

Speaker1: That was the only reply I had for, uh, I maybe I posted 30 to 40 [00:26:10] letters and that was the only person who replied back to me. So.

Speaker2: Yeah. [00:26:15] Wow. And so he said, right, I’m gonna I’m gonna try [00:26:20] and find you a job. Right? He said, I can’t guarantee you what job, but I’ll find you a job. What was that [00:26:25] job? And what happened next?

Speaker1: Then, uh, I had opportunity [00:26:30] to I mean, he that he rang the consultant, uh, in Southampton [00:26:35] at that point, uh, Salisbury. Southampton. And then I, he said, go and [00:26:40] see him. If any job comes, you may get it. So I travelled, uh, I mean, I went there [00:26:45] to meet the, uh, Mr. Floyd, I think, remember, in Salisbury Capital. And that was my [00:26:50] first job. He said, yes, there’s a job coming in two months and, uh, come [00:26:55] and start working as a house officer. So as a junior doctor in a maxillofacial [00:27:00] surgery.

Speaker2: So what was there, was there any kind of academic stuff [00:27:05] that you had to get out of the way to be able to register? Like what [00:27:10] was the what was the process there for you? You have your dental degree from India. [00:27:15] You come here, you’ve been shadowing, not getting paid. Was there some [00:27:20] kind of conversion exam or tests for, uh.

Speaker1: But with [00:27:25] the, uh, temporary registration, it’s called, you know, you can’t practice [00:27:30] under, uh, without supervision, which means you can’t do House of the job in hospital [00:27:35] under supervision with the temporary registration. But that was the.

Speaker2: Basis [00:27:40] of your first.

Speaker1: Job. That’s the. That’s the basic of the first job. Yes.

Speaker2: Okay. So then what happened [00:27:45] then? You did that first job. How long were you in that job for?

Speaker1: I left that job. Every [00:27:50] job, uh, changes every six months. So I was there for six months. Then I went to Southampton, [00:27:55] uh, for six months. Then I worked, like, every six months. I moved away, [00:28:00] uh, to different hospitals, to Glasgow, to Nottingham, everywhere, all [00:28:05] over the country.

Speaker2: Just hopping from job to job every six months. Similar job in Max [00:28:10] FACs doing sort of under this temporary registration. What sort of work were you doing back [00:28:15] then under supervision? What was your day to day and what sort of hours were you doing.

Speaker1: Those [00:28:20] days was really, uh, I enjoyed purely because there were only 3 or [00:28:25] 4 shows, a senior house officers in each department and depend on which [00:28:30] department you go. Um, particularly I can remember I worked in near Liverpool, uh, [00:28:35] in Wirral, where we had, uh, the trauma was so much [00:28:40] okay, whatever reason. And then as a. Surgeon. I mean, [00:28:45] uh, dentist and maxillofacial dentist. You get to see fixing [00:28:50] fractured mandible, fixing maxilla or wisdom tooth extraction every day. [00:28:55] Wisdom tooth extraction was like a day to day, uh, bread and butter for us. Like 4 [00:29:00] or 5 a day, like shelling peas.

Speaker2: Right? Just super.

Speaker1: Easy. Exactly. Yeah. Super [00:29:05] easy. Like, do that sort of thing. And then sometime you get road traffic accident, you’re [00:29:10] working with your registrar, you know, fixing broken bones. So you get a lot of surgical exposures. [00:29:15] And then the hours of working was in a morning, you start at 8:00. [00:29:20] But if the busy unit starts at seven, we go on the ward rounds and everything, [00:29:25] and then you go and start your clinics or helping, um, consultant [00:29:30] in the theatre, which will be until five, six, sometimes 7:00 in the evening, [00:29:35] then weekends. It used to be 1 in 3 young girls every [00:29:40] week and every other sort of thing you do. You start on Friday night [00:29:45] and you finish on Saturday morning. You start and you finish on Monday morning. [00:29:50] So it’s continuous straight through on call, straight through those days. Yes, [00:29:55] straight through Saturday morning to Monday morning.

Speaker2: Did you get a couple of hours sleep [00:30:00] in the in the doctor’s mess or something like that in between?

Speaker1: Exactly. Yeah. You sleep in the doctor’s mess [00:30:05] and then you just go and they call you any facial lacerations or broken bone [00:30:10] or anything they call you and anything to do with face. Um, so you [00:30:15] have that all the time.

Speaker2: So you really got thrown into the deep end right in [00:30:20] your first job. Six every six months, jumping from hospital to hospital, city to city, town [00:30:25] to town, being exposed to doing these long hours, being woken up. And [00:30:30] you know, whether it’s from Saturday to Monday morning or whatever, right? You really got your. That’s [00:30:35] right. I have a feeling you got your 10,000 hours in really, really quickly. Exactly. [00:30:40] In those early days, right?

Speaker1: Yes. But the good thing was it’s like a family [00:30:45] bug, you know, when you are, uh, working in a hospital, you like, for example, weekends, you [00:30:50] literally you are a accident emergency department all the time. So [00:30:55] there will be you make friends from different, uh, specialities orthopaedic surgeons [00:31:00] or ophthalmic to everyone’s there as well, waiting for their cases to be treated. [00:31:05] So you it’s like a family and. Yeah, [00:31:10] that’s how you and the nurses and radiographers and stuff. Yeah.

Speaker2: And [00:31:15] so at what point did your did your registration [00:31:20] stroke career move from being under temporary registration or supervised [00:31:25] registration, whatever that’s called, to being a fully licensed hey, I can [00:31:30] do my own thing now. When did that happen?

Speaker1: Yeah, well what [00:31:35] happened? You can have a temporary registration for maximum four years. So. [00:31:40] But the four year came sort of thing. And again, last minute, like I said, I was like having [00:31:45] fun working, you know, enjoying it. Then at the time came, look, I have to do something [00:31:50] if I have to stay in this country, if not, I can’t do it. So the other option I had was I [00:31:55] because I want to do the Max Maxillofacial surgery. I thought going back to medical [00:32:00] school in UK where I left in India, I started again because you [00:32:05] got to be doubly qualified to become a max price consultant. So I played for [00:32:10] Nottingham University and then the Leeds and then Nottingham City [00:32:15] accepted sort of thing. And then I found out I had to pay £25,000 [00:32:20] a year for five years for as a fee, because overseas candidates [00:32:25] just for the job, just to go into medical school. Oh. [00:32:30]

Speaker2: I see, I got you. Yeah. Understood. Yeah. Right. Yeah.

Speaker1: So [00:32:35] then I didn’t have that money to go into medical school. So I told my consultant who was very helpful, [00:32:40] and I said, look, I can’t do it. So then I did, uh, what exam, [00:32:45] which is the IQ point and all these things. I passed the exam and before [00:32:50] I passed it, I was wanted to do something to get the permanent registration [00:32:55] in the GDC, which allows me to work unsupervised [00:33:00] in, let’s say, in a dental practice or whatever it is. So [00:33:05] I did my LDS RCS one year program in Glasgow Dental School. [00:33:10] Um, that was 2004, I believe. Uh, is [00:33:15] that a.

Speaker2: Full is that a full time thing, or were you able to work and earn money at the same.

Speaker1: Time? No, no, no, it [00:33:20] was a full time course. So I went back to student life again in Glasgow. Uh, for [00:33:25] a year I did my LDS RCS. By the time I finished LDS year, I got [00:33:30] my LDS year and I finished my two MFT and MVT DS, uh, [00:33:35] one in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh’s Royal College. Then [00:33:40] I got my IQ at the same time. So eventually when I came out of [00:33:45] that, by the time I was eligible to work in a dental practice as [00:33:50] unsupervised. So that’s open. Mind the whole thing.

Speaker2: So how long did that how [00:33:55] long did that piece take from you sort of saying, okay, I’ve been jumping from hospital job to [00:34:00] hospital job every six months for four years. My time’s run out now. I could go here, [00:34:05] but it’s 125 grand. I’ve got this other option, which is. Which is to [00:34:10] go for this mfds, um, option. And then you were in full time education [00:34:15] back as a student, I take it, not earning any money, but just sort of getting by [00:34:20] on savings, I guess. Yes.

Speaker1: That’s right. Yes. Whatever leftover I had. Yeah. After [00:34:25] spending years.

Speaker2: And then, uh, how long did that take before you had [00:34:30] your license?

Speaker1: Took me 16 months. Because there is 12 months of my, [00:34:35] uh, course education. The exam I passed, then I had my registration [00:34:40] came out two months after that. Then I started applying for a jobs. [00:34:45] And again, I want to go back into hospital. So even at that point, I didn’t know whether [00:34:50] should I go into Dental sort of practices or go into hospital. So [00:34:55] I went back into hospital as a staff grade in Stoke on Trent for [00:35:00] three months. Um, but I didn’t like it because I couldn’t see any [00:35:05] progress of my career. I know I will stay as a staff grader rest [00:35:10] of my life. So then I changed my mind and I came to, [00:35:15] uh, dentistry. And I did my vocational training, uh, in North [00:35:20] Wales at that point.

Speaker2: So what did you do? Did you have to apply for a bunch of jobs for [00:35:25] the vet or. Yes.

Speaker1: Yes. Uh, at that point there’s, uh, it came up, [00:35:30] uh, in Wales, uh, the area. So I applied for it and I got [00:35:35] selected in North Wales, and I did a vet for a year. So to get [00:35:40] my number.

Speaker2: So. So at this point I’m thinking, look, if I’ve just [00:35:45] employed you as my vet, right? And then there’s the other guys who are [00:35:50] coming out of dental school. You’ve got so much more experience, right? You’ve put [00:35:55] people’s faces back together. You’re pulling wisdom teeth out like it’s, um, you know, [00:36:00] putting your socks on. Do you know what I mean? Like, you’ve got all this ton of experience. What [00:36:05] was that like in that practice, and what was that like for your trainer? Um, [00:36:10] did you find it easy at that point, or were you were you learning completely new tricks that were outside [00:36:15] of hospital medicine now? Right. The totally different way of looking at patients. The journey taught [00:36:20] me through that.

Speaker1: Wow. That’s a really good question because when I went to VAT, you’re right. And I had so much [00:36:25] skills in surgical side, but I didn’t know how to do crown prep. I didn’t know [00:36:30] how to do, let’s say, root canal treatment. I didn’t know how to do a maybe class two fillings [00:36:35] because I lost touch in general dentistry for nearly six years. Yeah. So [00:36:40] and I went back and I learned the whole skills again. And the person I like [00:36:45] to mention the name here is, uh, Nigel Jones. Uh, he’s amazing guy. He’s a, uh, advisor [00:36:50] those days in Wales, in Abergavenny. He was so good. And [00:36:55] and so I approached him every time I had a block and said, look, I don’t know what to do. [00:37:00] So he said, look, turn over. These are the instruments you use. These are the amalgam fillings, how you do. [00:37:05] And um, so it was another learning back, going back to dental [00:37:10] school and learning those skills again.

Speaker2: You know, it [00:37:15] feels to me you’re going back and forth and back like it’s not the traditional straight line approach. Right? [00:37:20] Is the, you know, you come here and you’re going six months to six [00:37:25] months, but you’re putting people’s faces together, right? You’re pulling out wisdom. You’re doing all this [00:37:30] complex surgical stuff that people do like years after they’ve graduated. Right. And [00:37:35] but but then you’re going back to dental school and saying, right, I’m going to learn how to prep this crown. [00:37:40] I’m going to learn how to do a root canal. I’m going to learn how to do basic dentistry now. Right. So you’ve got it’s almost [00:37:45] like you take a step forward, take a step back, forward, back, and all the rest of it. Um, what [00:37:50] do you think that did for your overall sort of skill set and grounding in dentistry? It’s completely non-traditional [00:37:55] in the approach that most definitely most UK dentists would take. Right.

Speaker1: Exactly. [00:38:00] I mean, the one thing in life I learned as a career as a person is, [00:38:05] uh, every time something, uh, the difficulty faced and [00:38:10] you may step back and in your life. But what it gives me is it [00:38:15] gives me the character, you know, it gives me build me as a person. That’s [00:38:20] what I learned from that, you know, it’s a job. It’s a job. But what as a person, [00:38:25] what you can do as a human, the character building everything is a character building. [00:38:30] That’s how it is 100%.

Speaker2: And so so you go, you [00:38:35] you’ve got that sort of first job, you do your VTE, what [00:38:40] happens next?

Speaker1: So when I did a VAT and I could because [00:38:45] my, my again my trainer um in in where I work he was [00:38:50] very helpful. And he said, look, we have to refer all the wisdom to the hospital [00:38:55] and the waiting list is like six months or can you, can we do a [00:39:00] work here? I said, so I started doing all the wisdom tooth and a little bit of, uh, [00:39:05] difficult extraction work and everything, and the towards the end of my, uh, [00:39:10] my VAT and I approached my trainer and said, look, I like to do implants, I like to do [00:39:15] some surgical work. So he said, okay, he gave me a in, uh, sort of day [00:39:20] off towards the end of the VAT to go and do an implant course, which is the Hill. Tatum. [00:39:25] Uh, great guy, my first mentor of my life career [00:39:30] in, uh, Harley Street in London, where I started my implant career [00:39:35] and did my first course with Hill Tatum, where I learned the placing implants and sinus [00:39:40] graft and that sort of thing. Then I stayed in the same practice for three [00:39:45] years following my vet and, uh, doing start doing [00:39:50] implants and private dentistry slowly. Yeah.

Speaker2: And so did the implant [00:39:55] side of things just come naturally to you because of your years of like, four [00:40:00] years of, like, surgical grounding, right?

Speaker1: That’s [00:40:05] right. Yeah.

Speaker2: Do you think that was naturally the career that you were going to choose anyway because [00:40:10] of that, that grounding or.

Speaker1: No, not really. Then I went to [00:40:15] I studied in Florida, uh, in, uh, Peter Pete Dawson, uh, occlusion, [00:40:20] you know, occlusion. Yeah. Uh, occlusion, occlusion and all these things. And I before [00:40:25] he retired completely. So I travelled to Florida, Tampa, where [00:40:30] his, uh, his, his academy was. And then I travelled six months to [00:40:35] Florida every month. I was there for six, seven days trying to learn, you [00:40:40] know, occlusion and veneer or aesthetic dentistry and stuff. [00:40:45] And I enjoyed it. Uh, but same time I was doing implants on a little bit on [00:40:50] the side, but naturally I my skills are more [00:40:55] into surgery. So I slowly and then moved on to different techniques and different. Yeah, that’s what [00:41:00] it. So I tried, I tried orthodontics as well and did every bit of dentistry.

Speaker2: Yeah, [00:41:05] you had a bit of a crack at everything before settling on to.

Speaker1: Exactly to find what? Yeah, what [00:41:10] I enjoy and doing to.

Speaker2: To find what was right for you. And so [00:41:15] that’s like, how did you go from there to [00:41:20] what was the journey from there to becoming a practice owner?

Speaker1: Yes. Um, I [00:41:25] worked in Wales with that same practice for three years, and I worked in another practice in Colwyn [00:41:30] Bay for another, uh, part time, two part time job. Then [00:41:35] when I started doing implants, uh, that point, after 2 or 3 years, [00:41:40] I started seeing complications, like project or failures and my own job [00:41:45] and my own work, and I wanted to learn or I want to find an answer [00:41:50] for it, why this is happening? How can I improve it? Then what [00:41:55] happened was then I tried to do more courses, sort of travelling there [00:42:00] as associate, I can’t. I didn’t have freedom of choosing how many days [00:42:05] I can take time off or I instrument wise or that sort of thing. And so [00:42:10] I started looking for a practices where I can buy. In North [00:42:15] Wales Chester area. Because I’m from India, I don’t have any [00:42:20] plan to stay anywhere in UK. Right? Hop job to every six months to Glasgow, [00:42:25] to Southampton.

Speaker2: You’ve done the rounds right? You’ve been everywhere. So you’re not locked down [00:42:30] to a location.

Speaker1: Exactly. So I took him up and I said, look, this [00:42:35] is what I’m going to do. So I’m going to travel around and find the dream, uh, practice. [00:42:40] So I travelled everywhere and I went for a, you know, I like [00:42:45] buying a practice. I looked at so many practices. Then I found this place in Buckingham. Buckingham [00:42:50] is a very small town in Buckinghamshire, which I never knew this [00:42:55] place existed until I came to this place. So I found this place, and, [00:43:00] um, this place, the gallery dental implant centre is not. [00:43:05] Didn’t exist before I bought it. The dentist who had this practice [00:43:10] in different building, totally different building. He was doing two days of dentistry, that’s all. [00:43:15] He was just right running it down. And he. [00:43:20] I met him and said, no, I’m that practice was in a big eight house, coach [00:43:25] house, like eight room coach house, very old, uh, house. [00:43:30] So he said, I sold the house already to somebody else. The business is there, [00:43:35] and these are the patients you have. You want to buy it off me? I said, okay, [00:43:40] fine. And I took the business.

Speaker2: How did this come about? Was there [00:43:45] a broker involved? How did you know this guy? How did you approach him?

Speaker1: It [00:43:50] wasn’t a big, um. So I, um, practice [00:43:55] for sale. So I just came, and then I met him. And apparently nobody wanted to buy [00:44:00] this practice because he sold the building, and he just got the goodwill. So I [00:44:05] ended up. Yeah. So I ended up buying the goodwill. And, uh, he [00:44:10] pointed out this building where we are sitting right now. Look, there’s the empty building there. [00:44:15] Yeah, you can lease it and you can start the practice there. And this is your goodwill. [00:44:20] And I bought it. I bought it for us. Yeah.

Speaker2: How far from [00:44:25] the big courthouse building was the building you’re sitting right now?

Speaker1: It’s like a 200 [00:44:30] yards. Not far.

Speaker2: Okay, so not far. Um. And what how much [00:44:35] did you buy the goodwill of the practice for back then? What were the numbers back then?

Speaker1: I [00:44:40] mean, I didn’t even look into numbers, to be honest. Yeah, I’m not a number guy.

Speaker2: Yeah, [00:44:45] yeah.

Speaker1: When I paid, uh, yeah.

Speaker2: Out of curiosity, what did [00:44:50] you pay for the goodwill back then of the practice?

Speaker1: £80,000? Because [00:44:55] there were 80 grand. But they only had he had maybe 150 [00:45:00] patients in total.

Speaker2: And so what was going through your mind? I need to buy a practice. [00:45:05] There’s a building over there, and I take. It was an empty building. Didn’t have a chair in [00:45:10] it or anything like that, right? No. So you had to start from scratch there. I’m assuming you had to invest some money [00:45:15] into that, right?

Speaker1: Yes. That’s right. And that’s another big story. And then he pointed [00:45:20] to this building and I leased the building, and he [00:45:25] introduced the builder or the Dental thing guy. It’s [00:45:30] not a big company, very small company, something like that. And, uh, he started [00:45:35] on the guy who did the building. He said, oh, I will finish in six weeks for you. Um, you [00:45:40] can move straight away. Fine. Give me the whole money. And [00:45:45] I was naive enough to give not to give for money. But I gave him half of the money, and three days later, [00:45:50] he went into administration. Oh, crikey. [00:45:55] Yeah I saw I.

Speaker2: Just that just just humour [00:46:00] me on the numbers. Right. You’ve paid 80 grand for some goodwill. Um, on a practice [00:46:05] that. Was that still operating in the old coach house building or that shut [00:46:10] down.

Speaker1: No, that’s I don’t.

Speaker2: Okay, so you now got you’ve now got these this [00:46:15] goodwill of these patients who’ve got nowhere to go. Yep. Because there’s no practice. [00:46:20] You lease a building.

Speaker1: Yep.

Speaker2: You pay a builder. What what [00:46:25] did you pay this guy?

Speaker1: I paid him a 60,000. You paid this guy.

Speaker2: 60 [00:46:30] grand, right? So you’re now 140 grand in?

Speaker1: Yes.

Speaker2: Do [00:46:35] you have goodwill that’s deteriorating by the day? Because these patients have got nowhere to go, so they’re [00:46:40] probably finding another dentist, right?

Speaker1: That’s right, that’s right.

Speaker2: And you’ve got an empty. You’ve got an empty [00:46:45] building that you need to put a dental practice in. Right.

Speaker1: That’s right. Plus [00:46:50] the next plus the staff. Because the staff, the staff came. Oh shit. [00:46:55] Because yeah, you got to you got to take the staff with two, three rules. So I had one receptionist [00:47:00] and two nurse with me. All right.

Speaker2: So you’re paying their wages during [00:47:05] this time?

Speaker1: Yes, I have to. Yeah. So we were in this [00:47:10] building, new building with the boxes of 2 or 3 boxes full of the old paper [00:47:15] notes. Paper notes, of course. Yeah, yeah. Uh, and our phone number, we had the same phone number, [00:47:20] so there’s a phone and connected to the thing. Like you said, all the patients are ringing and [00:47:25] what’s happening and all this stuff. So what happened was, uh, there’s a practice [00:47:30] another 100 yards from where we are now. I called Meadowlark Dental Practice. [00:47:35] He was a lovely, lovely, uh, dentist. So I approached him and say, look, can [00:47:40] I hire you a room? Uh, one room at least two days a week just [00:47:45] to service my patients. And he said yes. So I hired [00:47:50] the room per two days per week, just treating the existing patients for [00:47:55] 3 to 4 months. And then I found another builder and I [00:48:00] paid the rest of the money and. The Gallery and Dental Implant Centre [00:48:05] was born at that point.

Speaker2: So how long did that take?

Speaker1: It took kind of the two [00:48:10] months to do it. Two months? Three. Yeah. So three, four months in total. I was like. [00:48:15]

Speaker2: But but in the meantime, you were paying this other guy to rent a surgery [00:48:20] or two or whatever to.

Speaker1: That’s right.

Speaker2: Keep the goodwill alive.

Speaker1: Yes. [00:48:25] That’s right. That’s what I did.

Speaker2: Excellent. And, um. So [00:48:30] now you’ve got, you’ve got you’ve got the practice. What was it back then and what is it today. What’s [00:48:35] happened to that practice in that time?

Speaker1: When we start, when we start working [00:48:40] in this practice, I had again a two days of dentistry. That’s it. Nothing else. We didn’t have enough patients more than [00:48:45] that. So, uh, I just, uh, started working still, [00:48:50] I kept my job in Wales, so I used to travel every Sunday night, work there [00:48:55] Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. And I came down here, I worked, I worked on [00:49:00] Thursday and Friday, and I slept in this same building every, uh, when [00:49:05] I’m here because I used to, uh, have a house in Chester. That’s where I lived with my [00:49:10] family. So I used to sleep in this, uh, building, uh, when I’m here, [00:49:15] and I still. I got that, uh, Ikea couch, uh, as in my practice [00:49:20] where I used to sleep. And so. When.

Speaker2: When. So. Sorry. So when when you were working in, [00:49:25] in the practice, you’d you’d just sleep in the practice. Yeah. Yes. On the.

Speaker1: Couch. Practice on the couch. [00:49:30] Yes.

Speaker2: On the couch. Um, yeah. And then when would you go back home? [00:49:35]

Speaker1: So I go. I finished here on, uh, Friday, Thursday, [00:49:40] Friday. And I go home on Saturday in Chester. So I walk there on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. [00:49:45] I come back on Thursday, Friday. So, so two, three, three nights I slept here in [00:49:50] this place. And the practice I used to rent a room and I [00:49:55] purchased this practice six years ago now. So it’s through the practice of mine now here [00:50:00] in. Oh, so you went you.

Speaker2: Bought Meadow Walk Dental practice.

Speaker1: In the end? Yes, at the end. Six years [00:50:05] ago. Yes. That’s right. Yeah.

Speaker2: Isn’t that a lovely story?

Speaker1: It [00:50:10] is, it is? Yeah. I didn’t think back. Would I do it again? Maybe not. I wouldn’t do it, but [00:50:15] I it worked out, you know, it worked out well for me.

Speaker2: I think there’s a lot of things definitely [00:50:20] in business that we would all. Not do looking back [00:50:25] with the knowledge we have today. Exactly. But it shapes who we are today [00:50:30] as well. Right at the.

Speaker1: Very well. Well, said, Sir Paul.

Speaker2: The the [00:50:35] sleeping on the couch. Yeah, the the renting the room in the practice [00:50:40] and the. Yes. Paying the builder and him running off, you know, going [00:50:45] into administration three days later or whatever. Right. You clearly you would have made those mistakes again. [00:50:50] Right. But it’s those big mistakes that you become more cautious. You learn. You learn [00:50:55] from them. Right? You get burnt. Um, and you evolve as a business owner. Right? [00:51:00] So so you’ve got the two practices, you’ve got metal work and you’ve got the gallery. [00:51:05] So what are they? What are they like today? If you if you were to sort of describe them as in how [00:51:10] many surgeries are they busy, what type of dentistry are you doing across the practices. [00:51:15]

Speaker1: The gallery. Dental. Yeah. And the gallery is [00:51:20] purely to do with the surgical side eye implants, bone graft, soft tissue grafting and that sort [00:51:25] of thing. And we’ve got a hygienist room in two, only two rooms in the gallery. So [00:51:30] my plan was to expand this practice, but the [00:51:35] Meadows came on the market, so I bought it. So there we have five surgeries [00:51:40] and then we have four others, three associates and then part time associate. [00:51:45] And we got two hygienists there. So there we do all the day [00:51:50] to day dentistry, Invisalign, uh, all the facial regeneration, [00:51:55] that sort of thing. Gallery is purely to do with the surgical side of the thing. I’m [00:52:00] busy. I work four days a week. Monday is my admin day, but rest of the [00:52:05] time I do surgeries every day in and out and booked up for another 3 [00:52:10] to 4 months.

Speaker2: Wonderful. And and so in terms of the, [00:52:15] um, being a being a practice owner right now, a business owner, it seems [00:52:20] like the gallery is like your home where you’re doing your surgical stuff. That’s [00:52:25] right. Four days a week or whatever. Right. And it almost feels it almost feels to me. You’ve got this [00:52:30] other medical dental practice where there’s all sorts of other non implant related stuff going on [00:52:35] that takes care of itself. Are you have you got really good management team in place. How do [00:52:40] you run that business. Do you, do you do you do you get involved in the day to day of that.

Speaker1: No I’m [00:52:45] I’m not good in admin admin things. To be honest with you. I’m a surgeon. Like I do [00:52:50] like surgery I do, I’m a clinician. Yeah. So I got I’m so lucky that I got a fantastic [00:52:55] team. I got a business manager and Jenny and I got a clinical manager [00:53:00] who runs the look of the staff rota and payment and payroll and everything. And [00:53:05] I got two treatment coordinators, Bella and Emily. They look after all the [00:53:10] patient side of the journey. We got three receptionists between the two practices [00:53:15] and we got like nine, 11 nurses between the two practices. [00:53:20]

Speaker2: And you have team members that hop between the two practices. Are they close [00:53:25] enough for that to happen? Yeah.

Speaker1: Very close. Like yeah very very close. Like a the cactus. [00:53:30] Right. So the the swap between us I go there sometimes if you have a joint [00:53:35] consultation with my other colleagues because we got endodontist, we got a periodontist as [00:53:40] well in the other practice. So every new patient or whoever is seeing like [00:53:45] a multi-specialty thing, we do work together.

Speaker2: And I take it you’re [00:53:50] not travelling all that. You’ve relocated your home closer to the practice? Yeah.

Speaker1: Right now I [00:53:55] live near Oxford, so it’s not for 20 minutes, right?

Speaker2: Okay. Okay, [00:54:00] fine. And what what would you say the biggest challenges have been in growing those businesses [00:54:05] to. You’ve got you’re in a position where I think a lot of people would love to be in [00:54:10] where you’re doing four days a week, the type of dentistry you love doing day in and day [00:54:15] out. You’ve also got a business that’s kind of running itself very hands off. [00:54:20] What were the challenges in getting there?

Speaker1: The challenges was like, first [00:54:25] of all, because I didn’t have any support. And in [00:54:30] UK, as a mum, dad or whoever it is, apart from brothers. So financial challenges [00:54:35] was a big thing for me. Everything I had to, you know, financially, I have to go to the [00:54:40] bank and get the loan repayment. Second thing is the [00:54:45] like every business has got like building the business as a patient base, you know, [00:54:50] so gaining the trust because the Buckingham is a very, very small town. It’s not a [00:54:55] big city. So getting the trust from the patient was to start [00:55:00] with it was challenging. But now, you know, they are in a really good [00:55:05] position where we are. And then other thing is the for me, this [00:55:10] is my one thing is the communication of uh to my staff, our colleagues. [00:55:15] That’s the a lot of dentists I think I can talk for myself is, [00:55:20] uh, I have a vision, but I didn’t communicate that vision to my team, [00:55:25] so that sort of thing I’m learning. I’m slowly. I’m still. I’m learning [00:55:30] that to communicate with them such a way that they understand what I want or [00:55:35] what I need as a team, we need most of the time. It’s, uh. I always [00:55:40] happy to blame others. Oh, this didn’t happen because that doesn’t big thing. [00:55:45] But now I realise that is.

Speaker2: You know, it’s so true that that [00:55:50] that thing of, you know, in my mind. In your mind, probably the same thing, right? [00:55:55] That you give a team member a task or you ask them to do something, [00:56:00] but you assume that what you ask them to do and the outcome, they’ve [00:56:05] they’ve worked the bit out in the middle. Right. But you’ve never told them. You’ve never told them the [00:56:10] middle bit. Right? Yes. But you assume somehow by osmosis, they’ve picked that [00:56:15] up, the piece in the middle and they can go away and do it right, a bit like a [00:56:20] bit like somebody might assume that you’ve been to dental school and you’ve been putting people’s faces together, [00:56:25] so you’ll be able to do a crown prep in your sleep. Right?

Speaker1: But exactly. You’re right.

Speaker2: But but [00:56:30] you don’t. Right. And and often as a, as a business owner and a leader, [00:56:35] you I’ve often made that mistake as well, where I just expect a team member [00:56:40] to do things. And I think, do you know what? The only reason they’re making mistakes, the only reason they screwed [00:56:45] up. Yeah. Is my screw up. Right. Exactly.

Speaker1: Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker2: Because [00:56:50] either I’ve not delivered that message correctly or I’ve not given them the training or [00:56:55] spell everything out in a way that they can now fly with their own wings. Right. And that’s right. I [00:57:00] really believe that that, that whatever mistakes our team members make [00:57:05] and some of them, okay, they’ll make the mistakes by themselves. We all make mistakes, right? Of course, often the. [00:57:10]

Speaker1: Thing.

Speaker2: With with those expectations, sometimes we’ve got to look inwards and think, well, have I delivered [00:57:15] what I’m supposed to do on on the training or the delegation and that side of things?

Speaker1: That’s [00:57:20] very true. Yeah for.

Speaker2: Sure. Right. And it’s very easy to when you’re running a business [00:57:25] to point the finger and blame, you know, it’s um, very, very easy. But [00:57:30] as I, as I’m standing here, one thing, my daughter, my eldest daughter says to me, never [00:57:35] point like that. Because when you point, there’s three fingers pointing back at you, right? Uh. [00:57:40]

Speaker1: That’s true.

Speaker2: I learned it.

Speaker1: From my daughter as well. You learned that from you? Exactly. [00:57:45] My daughter says the same thing. Daddy, you know what? You don’t say things, but you expect [00:57:50] things, and you don’t do this. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker2: Yeah yeah, yeah. So, yeah. So [00:57:55] the challenge is in getting your team to. And I guess you’re still, you’re still coming across those challenges [00:58:00] right. As a business every day. Every every day. Yeah.

Speaker1: Yeah. But it’s getting [00:58:05] better I’m getting better I think.

Speaker2: And then in just in terms of like the patient journey, [00:58:10] how have you created that I guess, [00:58:15] um, demand or whatever it is, that brand that [00:58:20] patients come to you and you’re busy four days a week surgically, you’ve got months [00:58:25] ahead. So what that means to me is the patients don’t want to go anywhere else, right? They just want you. [00:58:30] Right? So they’ll wait for you. Yeah. So. So you went from [00:58:35] buying the practice for 80 grand, not having enough patients, not being busy to being [00:58:40] booked months in advance. Obviously it wasn’t an overnight success, but what was the journey in creating [00:58:45] that demand such that patients will wait months? And you’re super busy. And I’m [00:58:50] assuming, you know, your fee structure is appropriate as well for your skill set.

Speaker1: Yes, yes. [00:58:55] The thing I learned from a few of my mentors is like what I would [00:59:00] say, uh. My first. The next boss, he [00:59:05] said, told me this tone when I started working with him. Look, you worked [00:59:10] in the hospital, right? You see patient today. You won’t see them next day or the week after. They won’t [00:59:15] come back to you. But in practice, particularly in private practices, whatever [00:59:20] you do, you are the one fixing it, right? So when you do first [00:59:25] time, do it right. Okay. So yeah, don’t cut corners in [00:59:30] cost wise or work wise because if you do it wrong, they come back to you after a month or a week or a [00:59:35] year. You fix your own fault, more stress, more [00:59:40] money and more problems and then you lose trust. So do it. [00:59:45] First best, best job. First time. Yeah. Then I have my [00:59:50] own little saying. Tell me if I treat my dad coming to my practice or my brother [00:59:55] come to my practice, I have a treatment done just exactly same way I [01:00:00] treat everybody walking through the door in the surgery. And that’s the ethos. All of our I tell [01:00:05] this almost every day to my associates, my ministers, my receptionist, [01:00:10] treat every single patient as your relative or your brother or sister. No [01:00:15] difference. That’s the what we did. And we do still we do. And [01:00:20] that’s I think I believe that’s what helped us to grow where we are now.

Speaker2: It’s [01:00:25] really interesting, isn’t it, that you have this one overriding value. [01:00:30] Yeah. Which is look, every patient that walks through [01:00:35] that door is my niece, nephew, uncle, auntie, brother, sister, whatever. Right. [01:00:40] Exactly. And we want to deliver. We want to deliver the experience and the treatment so that and you don’t need to say any [01:00:45] more, right? Because that handles and covers everything, right? Everything.

Speaker1: Everything. Exactly. [01:00:50] Yeah. Be nice to them when I don’t. Yeah. That’s right. Yeah.

Speaker2: So you know, if [01:00:55] and when you take businesses that are very heavily value driven, [01:01:00] everything else falls into place. That’s right.

Speaker1: That’s true. That’s [01:01:05] the one thing my dad always told me I we went from when we were kids. Don’t follow [01:01:10] money, right. Do the right thing. Let money follows you. Yeah. [01:01:15] That’s always we’ve been told and that’s what we do. Um, I’d like [01:01:20] to.

Speaker2: So, Balaji, I want to. I want to touch upon the teaching. Um, [01:01:25] but before I do that, there’s. There’s one little thing that came in the midst of all this story, [01:01:30] and that’s family, right? Um, so so you’ve already mentioned, [01:01:35] you know, your daughter and my daughter tell us the same stories, right? So. That’s right. Tell [01:01:40] me how that all came about. Right. Because in between you landing in in Heathrow [01:01:45] and jumping from job to job for six months, voluntary under under and [01:01:50] paid under, um, under supervision and then going and doing your full time. At what point [01:01:55] did you, um, get married, have kids and have time to fit [01:02:00] this in? What point in the story did that all fit in?

Speaker1: Yeah, I met, uh, Heidi, [01:02:05] my my wife, uh, she’s Heidi, she’s half German, half English. Uh, I met her in [01:02:10] a senior house officer when working in, uh, Nottingham. Mansfield rotation. [01:02:15] And, uh, 2002, I met, [01:02:20] uh, no, 2001. We met. Then we got married in 2003. [01:02:25] Uh, August. And, um, then she [01:02:30] she.

Speaker2: She a dentist or a or.

Speaker1: No, she was, uh, and she works in the hospital [01:02:35] as an occupational health adviser. So I said, like, you know, when you’re in hospital, [01:02:40] you’re a sick family. You meet people, you meet things. So that’s how I met. And you make friends and that.

Speaker2: And that’s how [01:02:45] you, uh, that’s how you met led to.

Speaker1: That’s right. So you married in 2003, and, [01:02:50] uh, it’s still married together. And we have a daughter, Sienna. Uh, she [01:02:55] was born in 2012. We had a late child because of my job moving. And I [01:03:00] always wanted to be make sure I got to be available for them. So. Sienna is 12 years old [01:03:05] now. She’s studying in Oxford. Uh, in Scots in school. So. Yeah, [01:03:10] that’s my family.

Speaker2: And so, um, any challenges in terms of, [01:03:15] um, just in and amongst this, um, the work life balance side of things, being a husband, [01:03:20] being a father, um, balancing all of that, how how does that [01:03:25] play on you and how do you see that actually from from your perspective.

Speaker1: To be honest, [01:03:30] um, I for me, all the difficulties I’ve been through or all the struggle [01:03:35] I’ve been through or go through, the most difficult bit is the relationship, [01:03:40] particularly when you’re working this much, travelling this much, and, uh, all [01:03:45] these things and you even hide is very understanding. You know, I am almost away [01:03:50] every other week somewhere. Um, so she’s very understanding again. [01:03:55] Same thing I was trying telling you about the staff and me. Communication. That’s very [01:04:00] important, you know? Doesn’t matter. Work or a family life. That communication [01:04:05] is what’s going to keep you going. It’s. It’s not easy. I don’t want to sit [01:04:10] here and lie and say, oh, I like me. She’s amazing. I’m amazing. I have we all [01:04:15] have that struggle. But, um, it’s it’s but we’ve got she’s [01:04:20] understanding. I try to communicate as much I can and, uh, but [01:04:25] most importantly, my daughter now she’s 12 and she’s saying, daddy, you are out. Daddy, [01:04:30] why didn’t you do this? So when I’m at home and, uh, my phone will be taken [01:04:35] off from me and then be hidden somewhere by my daughter, so. That’s beautiful. Exactly. [01:04:40] He says keep the phone, keep it away. But we have good, good time together. We go holidays [01:04:45] quite a lot. Uh, at least six weeks. Seven weeks a year. I take time off [01:04:50] to be with the family. So trying my best, let me say.

Speaker2: Yeah, my [01:04:55] youngest is is very much like that. And, um, you know, always talking about [01:05:00] why do you work so hard, um, why are you working this weekend, all [01:05:05] these sort of questions. Right. The, the one question that hit me the [01:05:10] hardest because we went through this, I think I probably mentioned it on this show before. Right. Um, [01:05:15] which is we always go through this thing. Why do you work so hard? Yeah. [01:05:20] And part of it is, you know, try and describe it to them. That part and parcel of it is, is [01:05:25] for me, right. There’s no getting away from that. The challenge, the drive like [01:05:30] I am work and work is me, right. But take me away from work or work. There [01:05:35] is no Prav left. Right. Um, I truly believe that that is part of parcel [01:05:40] of who makes Prav or who makes me up. And I’m sure that’s the same for you, right? [01:05:45] But aside from that, it’s, um. Money [01:05:50] right there. Is that as well. Right. So that’s that’s the story [01:05:55] you tell your kids, right? It’s the story I tell my kids. And so my daughter, my daughter [01:06:00] once said to me, probably about a year ago now, said to me, this she goes. And bearing in mind my youngest, she’s [01:06:05] seven now. So when she was six, she said to me, daddy, um, can you stop working [01:06:10] until we’re poor again?

Speaker1: Yeah.

Speaker2: And that hit me [01:06:15] like a ton of bricks, right? Because it was a bit like, actually, this is why you’re working. I want you to [01:06:20] stop working till we run out of money. But while we’re running out of money, we [01:06:25] need to be with me. Exactly. That’s exactly. That’s the message. So. It’s [01:06:30] a constant back and forth. Right. So okay so in and amongst this you’re managing [01:06:35] work life balance. At what point did you say okay I [01:06:40] own one practice I own two practices. Um, you know I’ve had these jobs. Everything’s [01:06:45] going really well. I know I’m going to do I’m going to start teaching. How did that come [01:06:50] about?

Speaker1: Okay. Um, what happened from it comes from my [01:06:55] childhood days. Because, um, the education is always important. As my parents mentioned to you, I, [01:07:00] we talked about it. What happened when I started doing implants? [01:07:05] Uh, and I started coming across, uh, complications. Failures [01:07:10] of my own work. Of your own work. So, yeah, my own work. And then I didn’t know how to fix it. [01:07:15] And as I told you, I want to treat everyone as a family member. But if I can’t fix the problem [01:07:20] that that my ethos is completely going wrong. So I start like, exploring [01:07:25] the ways to learn to. Hence, I went to Tampa in Florida [01:07:30] to learn occlusion. Then I found, uh. So I should learn [01:07:35] a bit more about Implantology then. So I went to Germany. Prof. Cori. Uh, [01:07:40] in Augsburg, in Germany. I went there for four months. Every month [01:07:45] there are for three, four days of, uh, module. Each module went [01:07:50] and learned the techniques from the him, came back and I started [01:07:55] working on the technique for, uh, 4 or 5 years. Then still, there are some [01:08:00] more complications or things which I want to learn, which didn’t work in my hands. So then I [01:08:05] travelled to, uh, Budapest in Hungary is to an open six months [01:08:10] of training there. Every every time. But every time I [01:08:15] went there, I learned. Or whenever I start travelling to Europe, I always [01:08:20] found or heard that, oh, you’re from UK or England? The dentistry [01:08:25] is not as good as any part of the world or Europe or [01:08:30] America.

Speaker1: I start getting sick of hearing, hearing this, that we [01:08:35] are second to, uh, our neighbouring countries. So I [01:08:40] told myself, okay, I’m going to develop my skills and then I’m going to take these skills [01:08:45] back to my UK and then maybe share that and then start teaching. [01:08:50] So 20, 2014. Uh, I was thinking about it. Then [01:08:55] I finished my course with Estonia Open and he called me and said, Balaji, [01:09:00] I think you should run a course in in London. I thought he was joking [01:09:05] and I didn’t take it serious. So I went back for next year and said, oh, have you planned anything for the [01:09:10] course? I said, no, I said I was still at that point I was thinking, you know, he called me and said [01:09:15] you should because you got skills and you, why don’t you do it? [01:09:20] So. So every time I was travelling, I was thinking about it in the airport while I’m waiting in the airport [01:09:25] or whatever I was doing. I was thinking for the academy names, [01:09:30] different things, combination of different, uh, letters and that. So I came up [01:09:35] with Asha because, uh, Asha is like Indian name Hope, but it stands for, as you said, [01:09:40] Academy of Soft and Hard Tissue Augmentation. So this just came popped in [01:09:45] my head like a, you know, like a bulb moment. So that’s how I started [01:09:50] the, uh, academy in 2017. I started actually. Yeah.

Speaker2: Just. [01:09:55] Wow. And so tell me about the first course you ran. How did that go? The [01:10:00] first course. How many delegates?

Speaker1: Uh, when I started my first course, I. Okay. [01:10:05] That’s another story. Nobody wanted to know me, particularly the companies. None of the companies were supportive [01:10:10] because I’m new. New to the blog. Who is this guy who’s coming and talking about these techniques? Who [01:10:15] nobody does in in UK? So everywhere I went they [01:10:20] just no, no no no. So then one of the company [01:10:25] said, okay, we’ll do it for you. And this is a similar story. History with [01:10:30] the sort of thing. So I said okay. They said they’ll organise it and [01:10:35] then they start organising it. So advertised it. So I had only two people [01:10:40] booked in at that point. So month before the course the company [01:10:45] withdrew the support. They said look, you’ve got only two guys booked in, we can’t support you. [01:10:50] So they took over the whole thing off. But they, uh, reserved the [01:10:55] uh, venue in near Cheltenham in Gloucestershire. So they said, [01:11:00] okay, you pay the deposit. They are not giving the money back. So either you run the course [01:11:05] or you do whatever you want. So then I rang all my friends [01:11:10] who I knew and they said, look guys, you come free, you come free. If you want to pay me a little bit of [01:11:15] money for this fine half price, whatever, just want to get somebody. So we had a few. [01:11:20]

Speaker2: Mates, mainly your mates in two, two paying people.

Speaker1: Two paying people that [01:11:25] are still mates. So in total I had eight people in the first course. So that’s [01:11:30] how we started. But I had yeah, that’s my first course. Then, [01:11:35] uh, yeah. Now we are. We are now. Yeah.

Speaker2: So you run that course. [01:11:40] You’ve got two paying people, six of your friends who’ve come on for [01:11:45] something or nothing. Whatever. Figured it out between you, between yourselves. [01:11:50] Then. Then what happens next? And how have you got to the point where you’re running this academy? And [01:11:55] tell me about the courses that you run today. What you’re actually teaching. What what’s [01:12:00] your thing? You know, are they coming in to see you to learn about how to place implants? [01:12:05] Is it beginners? Is it advanced level? Is it everything in between? What is it that you’re actually [01:12:10] teaching today, and how did you go from the once again, two people [01:12:15] on the course, just my mates to where you are today. Yeah.

Speaker1: So. Right. My [01:12:20] course is basically as names two stands for I did a bit of market research in. [01:12:25] We have so many basic implant calls to place implants, how to place implants. [01:12:30] And that’s what I learned from, uh, Tatum. [01:12:35] And then my journey was like, after that, what’s going to do? What’s going [01:12:40] to happen? So that bit was the one we were like, uh, I found that in [01:12:45] here. We don’t didn’t do much. So all this course I did with Germany and Budapest, [01:12:50] and now I’m studying in Italy with Professor Zuccoli. All this knowledge as I’m [01:12:55] combining the different techniques and different skills in my course teaching [01:13:00] people, like I would say it’s a moderate to advanced course. It’s not for [01:13:05] a big beginners. If somebody has placed implant like let’s say 30, 40 implants or [01:13:10] 50 implants, then they want to take their skills to the next level to get it predictable [01:13:15] results. It’s not placing implants in my opinion. You know, we all can do implants, [01:13:20] but how predictable the results going to be. So my [01:13:25] aim is to if I place the implants like any work, it should last minimum ten [01:13:30] years. If it doesn’t last minimum ten years. So that sort of thing. So you’re talking about bone [01:13:35] grafting around it. You’re talking about soft tissue grafting around it. So my course is purely [01:13:40] with the bone and soft tissue graft are all implants from moderate to [01:13:45] severe these days I’m more busy not only from patients [01:13:50] from Buckingham. I get patients from all over the country, plus I get patients from Germany and [01:13:55] and, uh, few places as well referred to us because [01:14:00] the more and more patients I’m seeing now is patients who had implants placed or who had failures. [01:14:05] So we are treating them to gain more bone, more soft [01:14:10] tissue and redo the implant surgery, that sort of thing. So, so yeah. [01:14:15]

Speaker2: So in terms of the failures, um. These [01:14:20] implants that have been placed that shouldn’t have been placed because there wasn’t enough bone? Or [01:14:25] are these ones that have just naturally just, just just failed over a long [01:14:30] period of time? All the stuff that basically was too advanced to [01:14:35] have been done by whoever did it, and now they’ve come to you to fix that. And how much [01:14:40] of your time are you spending fixing other people’s stuff versus doing your own stuff from the beginning? [01:14:45]

Speaker1: 60% of my patients are fixing other people’s stuff now, [01:14:50] currently. 40% is my own stuff from my patients [01:14:55] base and the two practices and the local area. The reason because the failure [01:15:00] happens is implants are made, are meant to fail. It’s not given [01:15:05] by God. If you believe in that nature, it’s man made material. Every man [01:15:10] made material does fail. That’s when it’s going to fail. Is the question now [01:15:15] or in ten years time or 20 years time? Okay, so what as a human we can do [01:15:20] is to just, you know, prolong and get it, give them a longer time period. [01:15:25]

Speaker2: Understood? Yeah. And so what? What [01:15:30] is going to make an implant less. Longer?

Speaker1: A [01:15:35] diagnosis from start beginning. You know, like you said, does the patient implant [01:15:40] or does if you’re doing implants, what why need it and diagnosing the right [01:15:45] patient and right treatment plan then placing implants. This comes lost. [01:15:50] Then you need to know what where we are placing does. The implant is going to surrounded by [01:15:55] bone which is very important. And then when you have a bone you [01:16:00] need to have a good keratinised mucosa, thick keratinised mucosa around the crown [01:16:05] of the implant. Otherwise it’s like, you know, it’s like a periodontitis. You get implantitis once [01:16:10] you get the inflammation around the collar of the implant, if you don’t have more [01:16:15] than two millimetres of thick mucosa, then it reaches to the bone and the bone crest goes down. [01:16:20] And once the bone crest goes down, the implant exposed, then it’s a failure. So [01:16:25] that’s the basic of it, uh, giving a good base for [01:16:30] the implant and bone and a soft tissue around it, which prolongs the life, basically. [01:16:35]

Speaker2: So you spend a lot of your time fixing [01:16:40] other people’s failures? Yeah. Um, most of the time, yes. What would you say your biggest [01:16:45] clinical mistake has been to date? If you can pick one [01:16:50] big mistake that you made where either when you were in the mouth or afterwards [01:16:55] where you thought, shit, I shouldn’t have done that, or I could have done [01:17:00] this better or whatever. When did that happen in your career and what was the story? [01:17:05]

Speaker1: There are several, uh, mistakes still happens that, uh, the mistakes [01:17:10] always just happened. Complications happens to everyone. And for me, in my life, [01:17:15] even now, I get complications. And if I say I don’t get complications or failure, I’m lying [01:17:20] to you. Sitting here, my biggest one was the, uh. Then they start beginning [01:17:25] of the implant career. I, uh, doing implants. And the lady I still [01:17:30] remember, uh, had a full mouth implant based placement, which I did. [01:17:35] Everything was fine. But my manage her expectations, patients [01:17:40] expectations was too high, which I didn’t understand that. So I was doing [01:17:45] thinking, oh, I’m going to do it. I’ll do this implant. I’ll give her teeth. But I didn’t manage [01:17:50] the patient expectation, which means I didn’t communicate again, back to the same thing [01:17:55] of the patient. And I didn’t understand what patient wanted, but I gave whatever I thought was [01:18:00] right. But I was, uh, lost sleep over that for a long time because [01:18:05] I was sued for that. I had to give the money back and all those things. Yet [01:18:10] that was my one of the biggest mistake and a learning curve, I would say.

Speaker2: But [01:18:15] what actually happened? What did it failed or.

Speaker1: No, clinically it was [01:18:20] fine. Implant placement was fine. Uh, the bridge was fine, but the [01:18:25] patient didn’t like anything I did. Aesthetically, aesthetically, [01:18:30] and because she had a functional spine, [01:18:35] the, the the pink porcelain was there and she didn’t like the pink porcelain [01:18:40] or I didn’t want to have any of those. I want to have natural looking teeth, you know, all these things [01:18:45] and, um, so many things and just, just. And then that was the [01:18:50] mistake. I, I would say I made without not understanding what patient wanted [01:18:55] their expectations.

Speaker2: Yeah.

Speaker1: Expectations. That’s right. Yeah. That’s what the only thing [01:19:00] I can. But there are some surgical failures happen. But I thank goodness I know now how to fix [01:19:05] it if it happens. Uh, so I don’t really worry about [01:19:10] it. So I go back and do it again for them most of the time. So [01:19:15] which was okay.

Speaker2: And, um, in the delegates [01:19:20] that you have taught over the years, right. Those ones who come to you, they’re pretty [01:19:25] far. Well, I shouldn’t say far along in their implant career, but you said they you know, they’ve got to be at [01:19:30] the stage where they’ve they’ve stuck in, you know, 50, 60 implants or whatever there or thereabouts to then [01:19:35] take advantage of what you’re going to teach them. Mhm. Um. Can [01:19:40] you spot the the winners? Can you spot the [01:19:45] the ones who are really, really good clinically, [01:19:50] surgically? And what is that thing? If you were to bottle it up and say, [01:19:55] this person is a great surgeon, right? Whether it’s the bone, [01:20:00] the soft tissue, the implant placement, whatever it is, if you were to bottle up those ingredients into a formula, [01:20:05] what would that be? Being a teacher, are they certain things that you can spot [01:20:10] that straight away. You see a student, you meet them. You talk to them before [01:20:15] even seeing what they do with their hands, you know? Yeah, this person’s definitely the guy, right? I [01:20:20] can do that with Tecos. Right. So I can have a five minute conversation with a TCO. [01:20:25] Doesn’t have to be without about a patient. And I know this. This one can convert like crazy, [01:20:30] right? What’s your equivalent of that in the implant soft tissue bone [01:20:35] world.

Speaker1: Like I said skills is secondary because I don’t see them the skills when they come [01:20:40] in. But the way the approach of that person who is with me and, uh, they [01:20:45] are happy to accept what they’ve done wrong and then they happy to they [01:20:50] are there to learn. And then when they are there and I can see them [01:20:55] asking the way, the question they ask me, the way they admit that, oh, okay, I’ve been doing this for years. [01:21:00] I’m going to change it. Or like they are open mindedly saying, okay, I’m going to try [01:21:05] this technique. Rather than sit. I get delegates sitting there and say, oh, I do [01:21:10] this, why should I change? And this is not a light way of telling. [01:21:15] I have been doing this has been working. I said, look, every technique works as long as you [01:21:20] do it right. So the delegates who come to the, uh, college comes to the [01:21:25] courses. I. Now, what I do is to say that in every [01:21:30] module I pick 1 or 2 the best ones, and [01:21:35] I train them personally. I go to their practice and they come to me, so I add them [01:21:40] as my faculty member in the Asha. So it’s just not me. So [01:21:45] I want others to be there. So so far we have three faculty members [01:21:50] since I started the course, so I train them to the level I feel they’re comfortable [01:21:55] so they can go and do things for others teach, teach. [01:22:00]

Speaker2: Mentor.

Speaker1: That sort of thing. Yes, yes, that’s the way [01:22:05] we do in Asha, because I don’t want to be just me, me, me, me. It’s not that [01:22:10] we want to have a group of clinicians who can go the country and expand [01:22:15] their skills and teach them. Yeah.

Speaker2: So do you spend much of your time travelling around and operating in other [01:22:20] people’s practices now or.

Speaker1: Yeah. Well, again, another, uh, thing we [01:22:25] have in Asha, uh, Academy is because the skills are the which we [01:22:30] are teaching. It’s not two day or four day learning, uh, techniques. It’s a [01:22:35] really advanced technique we use. So I can another thing from my own [01:22:40] story. I went to Germany and I went to, uh, Budapest. Every time [01:22:45] I came back to the UK and start looking at the patient, I don’t know what I’m going to do because [01:22:50] it’s nobody there to hold your hand. So what we did my [01:22:55] I met a good friend from Germany. So we told each other, look, I [01:23:00] come to Germany. When you’re operating, don’t pay me anything. I’ll just come. I’ll help you. You come to [01:23:05] UK when I upgrade. So we just. What we did for nearly a year. He came every time. Flew to [01:23:10] the UK. I went to Germany. We worked together. Every single cases. So [01:23:15] what we do now in Asia is to. We committed to this. Whoever attends [01:23:20] the course, we go and mentor them in their practice first. [01:23:25] Like, you know, they can call me. We charge them a nominal fees. Nothing [01:23:30] like major fixed cost will come to your practice. We’ll do [01:23:35] you mentoring as long as you need us. Your, uh, our help until you feel comfortable [01:23:40] to do it yourself.

Speaker2: So. So if I’m a delegate and I invest in your course. [01:23:45] Yeah. And I come on your. How many days is your course?

Speaker1: Uh, four days. [01:23:50] Two. Two modules. Two, two days. Okay, so I come in.

Speaker2: So I invest [01:23:55] in your course. I do four days with you, and then [01:24:00] I want you in my practice to help me and mentor me. You will [01:24:05] do that.

Speaker1: That’s what we do. That’s our commitment to committed to every single delegates [01:24:10] in our group.

Speaker2: And is there enough of you to go around to do that for all your delegates? [01:24:15] No.

Speaker1: That’s why I’m starting this faculty. You mean like the faculty members now? [01:24:20] So it’s. I can’t do my way everywhere. So what I would do is, like, the other [01:24:25] three faculty members can go and do that.

Speaker2: Understood? Understood. So they they [01:24:30] go and do the the equivalent of. Now answer me this, answer me this. [01:24:35] If I came on your course, I’m not interested in the other three I want you. Right? [01:24:40] Yeah. Just like. Yes. Just like your patients want the principal dentists, right? [01:24:45] And you say, hey, go and see my associate. He’s better at crowns or whatever. Right. But I’m [01:24:50] coming on your course. You’re the founder of the Asha course, right? You’ve been doing it for years. I don’t want [01:24:55] the other three guys don’t care how good they are, I want you. Do you have that problem?

Speaker1: I, [01:25:00] I do, yes, I do, but I that at the moment. Yes, uh, I do, but [01:25:05] I do go there if I have to. But they have to wait if patient happy to wait until I get [01:25:10] free time to go, then I do, I do travel a lot for in that case, yes.

Speaker2: Okay. But then [01:25:15] if they wanted to be seen sooner, then one of your colleagues, um, could go and see them and [01:25:20] they could equally support them and do as just as good a job.

Speaker1: Yeah, definitely.

Speaker2: Yeah. [01:25:25] Yeah, yeah. Brilliant, brilliant. Um, but, um, I’ve [01:25:30] got a few final questions to ask you now. Um, and, [01:25:35] um, the, the first one is, um, imagine, you know, we’ve come to [01:25:40] actually, before I go there, before I go there, I’ve got one more question, which [01:25:45] is, um, where are you going with all of this? The the academy, [01:25:50] the clinic. Um, what’s what’s your overall ambition? Where do you want to [01:25:55] take this all? Is is it is it you want to grow the clinic and do more of that? Are you or [01:26:00] just keep that where it is? And do you want to grow the academy or you’re just happy just trucking [01:26:05] along in that lane, doing what you’re doing now? Is there a is there a [01:26:10] vision beyond what you’re doing right now?

Speaker1: Right. Yeah, there’s a project. [01:26:15] I mean, it just started, uh, in, uh, last year and, uh, we [01:26:20] purchased a big building in Buckingham, which is 5500ft². It’s [01:26:25] two, uh, two storey building. So next project will be we are moving [01:26:30] both practices into that building, ground floor. And on the top floor will be the teaching, [01:26:35] uh, Academy, where we’re going to be a live surgery and the teaching [01:26:40] everything there. So that’s amazing project.

Speaker2: And so you’ve got the building, you’ve secured [01:26:45] the building.

Speaker1: Secure the building. And now waiting for the bank to say yes for that next [01:26:50] stage. Okay. Right.

Speaker2: Okay. Brilliant. So, so [01:26:55] so then I guess teaching everything will all be in one place from that. From one place. [01:27:00]

Speaker1: Yeah. Yes. That’s right. Because one thing lacking in my academy is the live [01:27:05] surgery. Even though I videoed almost every single surgery and [01:27:10] everybody gets the video of the cases so they can watch in their own, uh, place, [01:27:15] practice wherever they want to, but lives, lives, lives different. So that’s the one thing [01:27:20] I wanted to do. So hopefully by next end of next year, we should have that.

Speaker2: That’s [01:27:25] beautiful. That’s awesome. And so you’re gonna you’re gonna. But this, this time, you’ll [01:27:30] be able to relocate the goodwill without any problems. Right? Exactly.

Speaker1: Hopefully, I find the right [01:27:35] builder who doesn’t run away.

Speaker2: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let’s hope that your past experiences have [01:27:40] shaped that now. So, um. That’s right. Yeah. Brilliant. Um, so [01:27:45] for the last couple of questions, Balaji. And one of them relates to, um, just [01:27:50] sort of some advice, really imagine it was your last day on the planet and, [01:27:55] um, you know, you had your little one next to you. Um. [01:28:00] What three pieces of wisdom would you leave her?

Speaker1: Okay. [01:28:05] Uh, the first thing I would say is be [01:28:10] nice to people. Right. That’s the most important thing. Any human being. [01:28:15] Second thing is, don’t stop learning. And [01:28:20] most important thing I tell my daughter is, even now, every day, [01:28:25] she’s bored of it. Now. Never give up. Never, ever give up. [01:28:30] And, uh, that’s, uh, every day I say that to her so that the 2 or 3 things [01:28:35] will be nice to people. Never stop learning and never give up. Those are three things. Wonderful. [01:28:40]

Speaker2: And then final question. Fantasy dinner party. Three people are invited. [01:28:45] Dead or alive, who would they be?

Speaker1: She’s got to be three. Okay, three. Right. [01:28:50] Uh, I would say, um, the [01:28:55] Microsoft CEO, Sundar Pichai, uh, is the [01:29:00] because he got a similar background like me, where he comes from, similar language, we speak similar same language. [01:29:05] And then I’m sure he struggled a lot to where he is now. So [01:29:10] in the table, I would like to pick his brain and maybe share him. And hopefully he [01:29:15] share his experience with me. Yeah. And then uh, second one I would [01:29:20] say, um, Michael Palin, he’s the journalist [01:29:25] and comedian and actor. Yeah. And I love travelling. So and [01:29:30] I love the way he presents, the way he is as very simple man. And [01:29:35] then that’s what I would like to have us sing. And the final one, [01:29:40] maybe the first one could be. Is that David Attenborough? He’s, [01:29:45] uh. Yeah. He’s amazing, amazing human being. And, uh, that’s the [01:29:50] other person which I would like to have. Uh, these people. Definitely. [01:29:55] I would like to have them.

Speaker2: Trip. Baloji. Thank you for your time. Um. [01:30:00] This evening. Welcome. Um, for those of you who can’t see, can’t see you, you’re sat there [01:30:05] in a cold room in your coat. Um, for the for [01:30:10] this podcast. Um, because. Because you live in the middle of nowhere. So getting internet connection, [01:30:15] you said, is pretty tricky. So thanks for staying behind. Um, really, [01:30:20] really appreciate it. And thanks for your time today.

Speaker1: Thank thank you very much. It has been [01:30:25] a fantastic talking to you.

Speaker3: This is Dental [01:30:30] Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders [01:30:35] in dentistry. Your hosts. [01:30:40] Payman Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

Speaker2: Thanks for listening, [01:30:45] guys. If you got this far, you must have listened to the whole thing. And just a huge thank [01:30:50] you both from me and pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we’ve had to say and what our [01:30:55] guest has had to say, because I’m assuming you got some value out of it.

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